Posted by: Kirsten | Tuesday, 22 January 2008

FREE Library of Congress Summer Teachers’ Institute

Ready for little professional development?  Even the smartest and most creative know-it-all parents (uh, that would be me) need a little help and fresh ideas now and then.  I participated in a scaled-down version of the Summer Institute a few years ago — a one-day teachers’ workshop.  It was a great introduction to the resources available at the Library of Congress both onsite and online — a definite plus for any homeschooling family!  And yes, homeschooling parents are welcome to apply… it even says so in the information below, and best of all, it’s FREE!  …so read on! 

From a Library of Congress press release… 

The Library of Congress is now accepting applications for its 2008 Summer Teacher Institutes. The institutes provide educators from grades 4-12 across the nation with the opportunity to engage in intensive study and exploration of a specific topic using the staff expertise and facilities of the Library of Congress. Participants in our Summer Teacher Institutes will:

  • Discover Library of Congress primary source materials
  • Develop strategies for teaching with primary source digital content
  • Engage in inquiry learning in hands-on workshops
  • Learn from Library of Congress subject matter experts
  • Network with other teachers from across the country to share ideas and experiences
  • Leave with a plan for creating a lesson or activity to be used with their students.

June 18-20 | Creating the United States

What was it like to live in the United States as it became a nation? What was involved in creating the founding documents and in shaping the government of this new republic? Teachers will learn about the development of the United States, the important documents and ideas that helped to bring it into being, and the ways in which they continue to shape our nation today. Teachers will also visit a new exhibition at the Library highlighting the founding documents and learn ways to bring this exhibit and other related Library resources into the classroom.

July 22-25 | Advanced Session: Using Library Resources to Create Lessons

Teachers who have attended the Library’s previous summer institutes, or who have served as American Memory Fellows, now have the opportunity to build on their skills with this advanced institute. Participants will work closely with Library specialists to improve their skills in searching the Library’s Web site, to learn more about using collections at the Library, and to develop primary source-based teaching materials for use in their own classrooms. In addition to attending training sessions with Library staff, participants will undertake intensive individual research in the Library’s collections to discover primary source documents that support their teaching goals. By the conclusion of the institute, each participant will have created the initial stages of a lesson plan or other primary source-based learning experience that they can take with them and integrate into their teaching. For previous institute participants or American Memory Fellows only.

July 30- August 1 | Incorporating Primary Sources into the Teaching Process

This institute will help teachers take advantage of the instructional power of primary sources, the documents and objects left behind by participants in past events. Though most teachers are familiar with the importance of primary sources, many are unsure about how to use them in the classroom or how to help students use them in projects. In this workshop, Library of Congress specialists will introduce participants to the unique characteristics of primary sources, while helping explore some of the millions of digitized primary sources available on the Library’s Web site. Participants will look at ways to introduce students to primary sources, as well as to help them understand how to use, and cite, primary sources in projects of their own.

August 13-15 | Immigration

The United States is a nation of immigrants. In the earliest grades, students begin learning about the uniqueness, complexity and diversity of the U.S., all of which can be greatly attributed to the immigrant populations that shaped it. This session will focus on identifying and using primary sources that explore different aspects of the immigrant experience, and that illuminate the ways in which immigrants have left their mark on the nation’s civic and cultural life. Activities will also focus on how those already living in America reacted to the arrival of immigrants, and to the issue of immigration overall.

The Summer Teacher Institutes are open to all grade 4-12 educators, including teachers, librarians and media specialists, and technology coordinators in public, public charter, private or religiously affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Content is geared to professionals working with students from upper elementary to high school.

Participants may only attend one session and must have experience using the Internet for research. It is also strongly recommended that participants have some experience using PowerPoint or other presentation software. The number of participants for each session is limited to 20. There is no charge for the institute or materials. Participants will be responsible for transportation to and lodging in Washington, D.C.

The deadline to apply for the Summer Teacher Institutes is March 15, 2008.  Please visit our Web site to register for this event: and send any questions about the Institutes to

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